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Johnnie Bell (Rankin) White

June 2, 1936 ~ October 3, 2019 (age 83)


Mother Johnnie B. White, wife of the late Elder Ernest White, passed away September 29, 2019.  A memorial visitation was held Friday, October 11, 2019 at Bread of Life COGIC. 

Celebration of Life service were held at 12 noon Saturday, October 12 at Revival Center COGIC. And we had church!


Johnnie Bell (Rankin) White was born June 2, 1936 in Taylor, Arkansas to the  parentage of Jessie Rankin and Lillian Marie (Woods) Rankin.

Mother White was the first in her family to receive Jesus Christ as  her Savior. She attended Price Chapel Church under the pastorate of Elder C.P. Price before moving to Des Moines, Iowa, where she joined Forest Avenue   Gospel Temple C.O.G.I.C, under Bishop Aaron B. Carter, Sr.

On May 5, 1962, Johnnie Bell was married to Pastor Ernest W. White in Des Moines, Iowa. Mother White was the natural mother to 21 children. She also had a heart big enough to love several others she helped to raise.  She enjoyed fishing, gardening, and cooking holiday dinners. (She could really cook a coon and would try to trick you into eating some). She loved shopping in consignment stores and traveling. She visited almost every state in the union. Mother White owned a store called “American Thrift Store in Des Moines.  She was also the owner of   Artistic Fingers Alterations. Mother taught sewing and quilting classes at Des Moines’ Roosevelt High School without having a teaching degree. “Your gift will make room for you…” Proverbs 18:16. She went back to school at the age of 42 to completer her education.  Mother could really sing and we loved to hear her take up a hymn.

While Mother White was busy with her family, she never let that interfere with her service to the Lord. She was one of five missionaries remaining who were licensed as an Evangelist Missionary under the tenure of Mother Ruth Robinson and Bishop Hurley Bassett, Sr. Iowa, Jurisdiction C.O.G.I.C. Mother White and Pastor White established three churches; Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C., Des Moines, Iowa; Mt. Zion C.O.G.I.C.,  Detroit, Michigan; and St. Paul C.O.G.I.C., Des Moines, Iowa. Her last church affiliation was with Bread of Life C.O.G.I.C. in Des Moines, Iowa under Pastor Stephen A. Carter and 1st Lady, Missionary Debra A. Carter. She was a State Sunday School Field Representative (Bishop A.B. Carter-Supervisor Rosalie Porter); State Sewing Circle/Artistic Fingers President (Bishop Hurley Bassett-Supervisor Ruth Robinson) Finance Chairperson for State Pastors and Elders Wives Circle (Mother Charlette Basset); Assistant Director for Forest Avenue C.O.G.I.C’s “Snack Bar” initiative; Children’s Teacher for Vacation Bible School (Calvary Memorial, C.O.G.I.C, Fort Dodge, Iowa)  and the cook for the Youth Camp at Dolliver State Park (Superintendent Leroy F. Johnson). All this, and kept an orderly home!

Mother went home to be with the Lord on September 29, 2019. She was welcomed by her husband, Pastor    Ernest W. White, Sr.; her mother, Lillian Rankin; father, Jessie Rankin; sisters, Marzell McCarrell and Dorothy Smith; her brother, Dezell Rankin; sons, Ronnie Brown and Ernest  White, Jr (Lee Lee) and grandson, Stephen Antjaun Carter.

Mother leaves fond memories with her sisters, Inez Lewis, Darlene Burkett, Hazel Malone Flowers, Vera Young (Billy), all of Des Moines, Iowa; her children, Jack Brown, Barbara Brown, Calvin Brown, David Brown, Debra White-Carter (Stephen), Curtis White, Jeff Madison-White (Dena), Mark White, Timothy White (Mary), Kendra White-Panfil (Lester), Deshawn Cleghorne-White, Kayla Thompson-White, Balah Rushing White, RayShone    Rushing-White, all of Des Moines, Iowa; Margaret Norwood and Tonja Vernon of Katy, Texas; Paul John White (Joyce) of Atlanta, Georgia; Tony White and Clifford White (Sheila) of Bloomington, Illinois and a special sons, Bobby Thomas of Detroit, Michigan and Izeek (Telanda) Newsome Sr. ; 74 grandchildren; 67 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, church family and many friends.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Johnnie Bell (Rankin) White, please visit our floral store.


Visitation (with family present)
October 11, 2019

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Bread of Life COGIC
2727 E. Railroad Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50317

Celebration of Life
October 12, 2019

12:00 PM
Revival Center C.O.G.I.C
3816 36th Street
Des Moines, IA 50310

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